Minehead is the very beginning of the South West Coast Path. This walk is mostly flat across the tops, with huge hikes up and painfully slow hikes back down. Fantastic views; we’ve never walked in this kind of environment. Sheep and scary cows that look like buffalo, a wicked wind that was with us all day, and clouds that threaten but kindly skirt around us.
We bus from Barnstaple to Lynton, squeaking through the narrowest lanes you can imagine. This photo was taken just before we had to back up to let three cars through. I’m assuming there are rules of the road as to who backs up, but everyone is cheerful about it.
We take a taxi to Porlock as buses no longer run here, and check into our hotel.
Storm clouds threaten all day.
Can’t ignore that ominous cloud to the west. We bundle up.
Then the sun peaks out. (I tiptoe by this guy, convinced he is planning to charge me.)
This. Hill. Is. A. Bitch. Probably takes a good thirty minutes to bumble down.
We finally reach the bottom and follow the path through Bossington, where we hear there’s a wonderful place to stop for a cream tea. Unfortunately, we have three miles to Porlock Weir, where the last bus of the day leaves in 50 minutes.
This submerged forest is 5000-6000 years old, and was first observed in 1890. It's a bit foreboding, like you might expect to see dinosaurs. The surrounding area is marshland; even parts of the path run through squishy areas.
It's rough walking but this rocky beach too has a fascinating history. It looks manmade, but was actually formed about 8000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age, when rising sea levels piled up the rock and shingle that fell from nearby cliffs. Across the bay is that wretched hill we bumbled down about 2 hours ago.
We reach Porlock Weir. We have 15 minutes until the bus comes so we stop here to have a cider and ale.